Neurologist sentenced to four years in a penal colony stated about the beatings at the trial

2022 2022-01-21T20:48:24+0300 2022-01-21T20:49:23+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

On January 21, the Lieninski District Court of Hrodna pronounced a verdict in a criminal case against political prisoner neurologist Aliaksandr Tsialeha. On May 3, 2021, Aliaksandr was detained in Barysaŭ for commenting on social networks and placed in custody in Hrodna prison, where he is still being held. His actions were qualified under three articles of the Criminal Code: 364 (Violence or threat of violence against an employee of the internal affairs bodies), 369 (Insulting a government official), 391 (Insulting a judge). During the trial, it became known that Aliaksandr left 32 comments on the officials, including the commanding officer of OMON Dzmitryi Balaba, assistant prosecutor of Frunzienski district of Minsk Alina Kasyanchyk, judge of the Frunzienski district court of Minsk Maryia Yarokhina, deputy prosecutor general Aliaksei Stuk. Aliaksandr explained at the trial that he volunteered at Akrescina temporary detention center in Minsk during the August protests, so he was overwhelmed with emotions and commented so much.At the trial, Tsialeha pleaded guilty under Articles 369 and 391 of the Criminal Code. He did not plead guilty under article 364 of the Criminal Code. The political prisoner firmly denies guilt on the episodes about the threat of violence, because “he was three thousand kilometers away from Belarus.”

Aliaksandr Tsialeha at the trial Photo: @nebovkletku
Aliaksandr Tsialeha at the trial Photo: @nebovkletku

At the trial, it also became known that one of the victims in the case had beaten Tsialeha during his detention. Aliaksandr stated:

By some coincidence, one of the victims was in charge of the physical aspect of my detention. [...] He beat me up while I was lying on the floor and my hands were handcuffed. The only help, if you could call it that, was the appearance of the officers of the Department of Internal Security, before whom he became law-abiding and strictly complied with the regulations on the use of physical force. When the officers of the Department of Internal Security temporarily withdrew, he again took advantage of the moment to take out on me for his so-called moral suffering. 

Even when I asked him to take me to the restroom at the Barysaŭ police department, and then he did not miss the opportunity to take advantage of the absence of video cameras and kicked me in the back surreptitiously. […] The fact that the victim took part in my detention is confirmed by documents from the Investigative Committee. It is also confirmed that he used physical force against me.

Despite the political prisoner's allegations of beatings, on January 21, Judge Hanna Leusik supported the request of the state prosecutor and sentenced Aliaksandr Tsialeha to 4 years in a general-security penal colony.